Deaths under the responsibility of the Dutch police: Lessons to be learned

E. Thoonen, B. Kubat, W. Duijst*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The european convention on human rights requires states to protect the life of detainees and to investigate police custody deaths. Investigations into these deaths are not only necessary in the individual case but can also be important in preventing future deaths. Examination of multiple police custody deaths over a number of years provides the possibility to determine risk factors and to establish preventive measures for avoiding future deaths. A descriptive study was therefore performed on 78 case files relating to police custody deaths in the netherlands in 2005–2010. The main findings of this study are that half of the calamities occurred during the relatively short period of apprehension and transport by the police. The consumption of drugs and/or alcohol seems to be an important factor in fatal medical emergencies occurring under the responsibility of the police.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-136
JournalThe Police Journal: Theory, Practice and Principles
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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